Don’t call it a comeback: Steph Curry has returned

Stephen Curry has had to deal with a lot of criticism while adjusting to life with Kevin Durant, but he’s exploded over the last two games.

A few days ago, FS1’s Colin Cowherd posted a video on Twitter in which he and Chris Broussard talked about how no one talked about Steph Curry. It made sense except for the part where a lot of people talk about how no one talks about Curry. It’s like when everyone selects the most underrated player in the league. After a while, that player can no longer be underrated, by definition.

The reigning MVP has heard the talk. After his collapse in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Curry went from standing on top of the world to having dirt piled on top of him. According to LeBron James’ Halloween party, he actually died.

From the moment that Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors, basketball fans and experts argued that there’s only one ball and too many stars to share it between. Someone would have to be left out. Over the course of the year, more often than not that player has been Curry.

He’s having a good season, scoring over 24 points, dishing out nearly 6 assists, and grabbing 4 rebounds per game. He’s shooting the ball OK by most standards, just not his own. He’s second in the league in three-pointers made and, most importantly, his team has the best record in the Association.

And yet, it didn’t seem like it was enough. Now, Curry wasn’t as bad as the Twitter extremists would say. He’s not garbage, trash, overrated, or exposed. It was unreasonable to expect him to replicate last year’s success, but it didn’t seem like a stretch to believe that he should be doing more than what he has been doing thus far.

For Curry, it hasn’t been a numbers thing. It’s been a feel thing. He’s a rhythm player and there are only a few times all year long it’s felt like he’s gotten into a good one. He’s still figuring out his role alongside Durant.

Over the last week or so, folks like Cowherd and Twitter experts everywhere have really ramped it up. The talk has become louder than ever. So Curry did what he’s done all his career and silenced them.

Against the Portland Trailblazers, he scored a team-high 33 points in a win. Last night, he put up a rather effortless 40 points in an overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He had an incredibly efficient night, shooting 15-27 from the field (55.6 percent) while adding 5 three-pointers. He also totaled 6 assists and 4 rebounds on the night.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite get it done at the end of the fourth quarter or in the overtime period. The Warriors couldn’t execute and Steve Kerr reverted back to keeping Curry off the ball in OT. But for the first 42 minutes of the game, it was vintage Steph.

Kerr had his point guard involved in pick-and-rolls as the ball handler and Curry ate it up. He attacked the paint hard and with purpose, finishing a bunch of layups in just the early part of the first quarter while increasing the difficulty each time. He came off the screens and hit jump shots. He found the roller with pinpoint passes.

They went back to the offense that won them a championship and 73 games. They simplified it and Kerr treated Curry like his two-time MVP point guard. He didn’t just use him as a decoy, a screener, or a J.J. Redick clone. He actually had him involved in the offense and it was glorious.

Steph Curry can go off for 30 or 40 points pretty much whenever he wants. That doesn’t mean he should or he has to. Last year, the Warriors needed him to be spectacular nearly all the time. Now with Durant, he doesn’t have to be.

Curry has to find a balance. He needs to figure out when he needs to let Durant run things and when he needs to take over. But make no mistake, the MVP is still here. He isn’t a fraud that caught lightning in a bottle (twice). He’s a future Hall of Famer with an amazing skill set that’s figuring out how to adjust to a new obstacle.

Don’t call it a comeback, but the Steph Curry we all fell in love with has returned. The alien that crushed souls last year is still here. He’s just a lot more judicial this time around, waiting until June to take his victims.

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